It's the community economy stupid!
Bill Curtis | 1/31/2014, 6 a.m.
Dr. King would concede, ‘OK ya’ll, the moral strategy of non-violence did not get us all killed, but it did win social integration concessions. OK. Fine.’ But critically, Dr. King would focus on the internal economy of the black community and its untapped billions of dollars to do something for itself, not just be beautiful, well-dressed, handsome and cute. Dr. King would ask, ‘why are the doors of the church closed six days a week. Where are your church members who volunteer to run your math, science and language arts tutorial programs to sharpen your children’s minds to run the world?’ ‘Explain to me again,’ Dr. King would say, ‘exactly why your pastor is so rich in money but Miss Annie down the street is living in the dark because her lights cut off?’ I think he would say, ‘uh-rah, social integration has its place, but the negative contradictions inherent in social integration are detrimental to our collective community development.’
The absence of community control of businesses in the community would probably depress him. I think he would say, ‘hey, there’s something I wanted to let you know before I got shot: Social integration is not the sole goal of the modern day Civil Rights Movement or any movement upon whose shoulders the Movement stood to break the nullifying grip of American apartheid. It’s the community economy, stupid.’
Dr. King would be embarrassed unto us. He would weep at our lack of creative imagination to solve our own problems. He would say, possibly, ‘stop sound-biting my 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech. Check me out later. Jump ahead to the end of my life among you when I wrote unto you in my book, “Where Do We Go From Here,” for your guidance during these troubling times in the 21st century’:
“Everything Negroes need—and many of us need almost everything—will not like magic materialize from the use of the ballot. Yet as a lever of power, if it is given studious attention and employed with the creativity we have proved through our protest activities we posse, it will help us to achieve many far reaching changes during our lifetime.” Additionally, “In the future we must become intensive political activists. We must be guided in this direction because we need political strength more desperately that any other group in American society.
Most of us are too poor to have adequate economic power, and many of us are too rejected by the culture to be part of any tradition of power. Necessity will draw us toward the power inherent in the creative use of politics.”
Bill Curtis lives in Baltimore, MD. To contact him, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.